Every time that I’ve followed a recipe lately it’s taken way more time to prepare than I expected. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m doing something for the first time and it takes practice to refine a technique – or (and this is my preferred answer) recipe books are lying ****s.
It’s taken me longer than expected this evening to prepare my food for the Slimming World meeting tomorrow – and I’m flipping glad I didn’t try to do it in the morning.
I was originally going to do one of the ‘leftover’ meals from the Christmas cookbook that came with my 12 week countdown (a discounted block booking of SW meetings that usually has an incentive free gift such as this), and earlier today had settled on a spicy Keema Cottage Pie.
Then I started looking through the SW magazine and saw some Moroccan Turkey meatballs – which looked maybe a teeny bit more festive (IT’S TURKEY!) than my original idea. One of its main flavours comes from ras el hanout spice – which I’d never cooked with before. I decided to get some from Tesco and dig my blender out of the cupboard. It’s never ever been used for blending before.
After an unfortunate incident where I nearly chopped my toe off (true story – I had to have it all stitched back up) with this barely restrained instrument of razor sharp spinning death I’ve left it under lock and key – so this was not a decision taken lightly.
The ingredients are as follows… (note the ‘ready in about an hour’ bit)
The first order of the day is making the meatballs with 2 tbsps of ras el hanout and half of the chopped parsley (I added some salt for seasoning too). You need to get stuck in with your hands here.
Secondly the onions, peppers, celery and garlic needed to be fried in spray oil. This was for around 10-15 minutes. At 14 minutes add a 1 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 of of ras el hanout, with a dash of water to stop it sticking. The mix should all be soft by then, and once it is transfer it to the blender and whizz it all up until it’s smooth.
I’ll be honest – although at this juncture I had no idea how it would taste – the spices SMELT AMAZING!!!
However – it was here that I feel the recipe started to wander off into absurdity. The newly blended paste (it said) needed to be added to the two cans of tomatoes, the remaining parsley and two cans of water.
Personally I think this was the main issue with timings in the recipe. This volume of water wasn’t needed in my opinion – and the sauce immediately looked like it would take a long time to reduce.
Well – it did. About an hour and a half as it turned out.
In the meantime I focused on the meatballs – and gently browned them off in a frying pan whilst the sauce bubbled away in a nearby saucepan.
Eventually I ladled in about four big dollops of the still very watery sauce and started to cook the meatballs fully in it.
At this point I STILL had about half of the sauce left – and it would have completely overwhelmed the meatballs. So – in order not to waste anything and make the most out of the cooking effort I put some chicken breast strips into the saucepan and chopped some cherry tomatoes into both the frying and saucepan.
The meatballs would be for the group – and the chicken for dinner tomorrow!
As the meatballs are supposed to be served with cous cous and salad (I’ll do some salad in the morning). I fried an onion and soaked the grains in some chicken stock to give it a bit of character.
So – that’s it for the evening. It’s now all in tupperware and ready for the morning. It took me around THREE HOURS in the end, so I hope they like it! I did try one of the meatballs with some of the sauce and it tasted rather nice – so I’m hoping the flavour and scent won’t dissipate before people (and I) get to try it properly tomorrow.
(Author hits the sack, hardly sleeps at all, gets up, potters about for a few hours, makes some salad to go with the cous cous, heats up half of the meatballs and then heads off to group.)
Well if there hadn’t been two new guys at the meeting there would have been almost no-one in group this morning! It seems a lot of people have been feeling the pressure of Christmas and had apparently decided to stay away until the new year.
Most of the usual hardcore mob were still in evidence today however, and amongst the girls there were some very Christmassy jumpers, an elf outfit (go Angie!) and a couple of pairs of eye catching sparkly (gold!) tights and baublesque and glittery earrings.
For my part I was in a Santa hat – so I was only 50% humbug today!
The meatballs seemed to go down very well – and people’s assorted nibbles all hit the spot (mmmmm humous and smoked salmon). This morning I was REALLY looking forward to eating – and I even allowed myself a mince pie. According to Angie it was 3 syns, but I’m unsure. It tasted WAY too nice to be so low in syns – but I guess stranger things have happened!!
But that wasn’t all…
I also got my nine stone certificate!
Yep – I’m officially 9st 1.5lbs lighter than I was on the 16th of April when I started. Yaaaay! go me! Whoop whoop!! (punches air with fist)
Honestly – although as usual I’ve had next to NO sleep I’m feeling energised and happy.
I’m in a good place internet. I can do this. Bring on the next milestone. Let’s see if I can get my nine and a half before the end of the year! I’ve got two weeks and 5.5lbs to go.